Meteor 'Fireball' Lights Up Sky Across UK

People across the UK have reported seeing a large meteor shooting across the night sky.

It was seen breaking up into pieces last night, with sightings reported across northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of people took to Twitter to report the sightings, posting photos and video.

Many people described seeing a bright fireball moving across the sky with a large tail.

The Kielder Observatory also reported the sighting of a "huge fireball" travelling from north to south over Northumberland at 9.41pm.

It posted on Twitter: "Of 30 years observing the sky, fireball best thing I have ever seen period."

But there was some suggestion the object could have been space junk which burned up as it re-entered the atmosphere.

Jodrell Bank Observatory tweeted: "No real consensus on whether last night's spectacular fireball was a space rock burning up or space junk (bit of spacecraft)."

Sightings of the suspected meteorite sparked a flurry of 999 calls from worried members of the public in Scotland.

Concerned callers from Airdrie to Arbroath likened the lights to flares, fireworks and even a plane crash.

Coastguard and police forces were inundated with reports from around 11pm on Friday night.

A spokesman for Forth Coastguard said: "From talking to other stations and to the RAF it's almost certainly meteorite activity.

"Calls came in from all over the place, thick and fast. We've had people report possible plane crashes, and others the weirdest fireworks they've ever seen.

"Folk just haven't known how to describe what they've seen. It's quite extraordinary."

Meteors, which are sometimes called shooting stars, are rocks which burn and light up on contact with Earth's atmosphere.